If you are reading this, it means you have an Android device and want to make free calls on it, or participate in group messaging. While you have many VoIP apps out there for making free calls on Android, Viber is one of those that have some specialties: it does not require a username and password as it uses your mobile phone number and integrates in your contact list; and it has a huge user base. Here is a walkthrough on how to get Viber running on your device and making the most out of it.
What You Require
The first thing on your checklist for Viber is a compatible and supported smartphone. If you have an Android device, chances are that it is covered, as Android devices are most numerous in the list of supported models. This is because Android is more open an operating system with respect to hardware integration and software development. Check whether your device is supported there.
You could use the same walkthrough to install and configure Viber on your iPhone and iPad, as the procedures are more or less the same. Check the system requirements for the iPhone there. Note that the iPad is only partially supported.
The second thing you require is an Internet connection. Viber works only with Wi-Fi and 3G. While you can have Wi-Fi hotspots in many places for free, including at home and at the office, you will need to have a 3G data plan for calls while you will be on the move. This often costs money as you will be paying for each MB of data you use on your calls and messages. Viber support says the app uses 240 KB of data per minute of utilization, up and down. That makes 14 MB per hour of communication. So, to put it simply, using Viber isn’t fully free if you intend to have it always with you wherever you are, but it can be fully free if you use it only within hotspots.
The third thing you need is a list of buddies to talk to. You can’t make Viber calls or send Viber messages to people who don’t use Viber. Sure, there is nearly a hundred million people out there using Viber, but you don’t have to or want to talk to them, do you? So if you are moving to Viber, some other people have to do so too.
Download and Installation
On your Android device, open the Market (now Google Play) app and go to this page
Just click on the link if you are reading this page on your Android device. If this is not the case, then it would be easier to make a search on ‘Viber’ in your Google Play app. Then click Download and Install. The installation will be done in a short time, as the app is only 7 MB.
After installation, you are presented with a welcome screen with the features of the app, click Continue. Then it asks you to enter your mobile phone number. It automatically detects your location and area code. If you see it is not correct, you can select the right one using the drop down list.
A pop up asks you permission to allow Viber access your contact list. You can choose not to grant it, but then you would be forsaking an interesting feature of the app. I allowed it and found nothing wrong so far.
The next step asks you for an activation code, which by that time must already have reached you through a text message from Viber. Enter the four-digit code and you are done. This access code is used to verify that you are the real owner of the phone number you entered.
Getting the Most out of Viber
You will save a lot of money if you use Viber in the following scenario: You have a number of contacts that you can frequently (family, friends, colleagues) and that use smartphones. Ask them to install Viber, and the calls with them will be free, especially if you make them using Wi-Fi hotspots. The service can lighten the burden from your home phone service. You can also organize group messaging among you, turning the app into a collaboration tool.